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James Webb telescope takes super sharp full-colour picture of early cosmos

The first full-colour picture from the new James Webb Space Telescope has been released.

The image is said to be the deepest, most detailed infrared view of the Universe to date, containing the light from galaxies that has taken many billions of years to reach us.

US President Joe Biden was shown the image during a White House briefing.




Further debut pictures from James Webb are due to be released by Nasa in a global presentation on Tuesday.

“These images are going to remind the world that America can do big things, and remind the American people – especially our children – that there’s nothing beyond our capacity,” President Biden remarked.

“We can see possibilities no-one has ever seen before. We can go places no-one has ever gone before.”



The $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), launched on 25 December last year, is billed as the successor to the famous Hubble Space Telescope.

It will make all sorts of observations of the sky, but has two overarching goals. One is to take pictures of the very first stars to shine in the Universe more than 13.5 billion years ago; the other is to probe far-off planets to see if they might be habitable.

The image unveiled before President Biden showcases Webb’s capabilities to pursue the first of these objectives.

“Light travels at 186,000 miles per second. And that light that you are seeing on one of those little specks has been travelling for over 13 billion years,” said Nasa administrator Bill Nelson.

“And by the way, we’re going back further, because this is just the first image. They’re going back about 13 and a half billion years. And since we know the Universe is 13.8 billion years old, you’re going back almost to the beginning.”

Hubble used to stare at the sky for weeks on end to produce this kind of result. Webb identified its super-deep objects after only 12.5 hours of observations.